|Resources||Woolly mammoths, amber|
|Religion||Irfrin (Lord of Fire)|
The terrain in the north is harsh, inhospitable and dominated by ice and snow. Only a few locations proved to be habitable, the rest is a desolate wasteland.
Almost all of Wenyavuk is covered in ice, and snowstorms often rage across its surface, turning it into an inhospitable desert that only experienced hunters dare enter. The Plains of Frost stretch for hundreds of miles around the habitable regions and until recently, the Na'nuk believed them to cover the entrie world. The desert is not entirely devoid of life, as the massive wooly beasts of the north such as mammoths, sabretooth tigers and rhinos roam the Plains. Their hide and sturdy bones are the materials from which most items are crafted.
The Tears of the Sun are three basins within the sheltered valley of the river Wyaskovai. Within each of them, a multitude of warm and hot springs can be found, that heat the ground enough for simple crops to be grown during summer. The warm water feeds the river and enables the growth of stunted vegetation along its course. It is here that the herbivore beasts come to graze, and the Na'nuk to hunt them.
Irfrin's Cauldron is the lake at the end of river Wyaskovai, which has no natural discharge. It is much deeper than it is wide and its waters never freeze, although they turn cold during winter. Over half the Na'nuk live among its shore in small settlements, and most of them put out in small canoos each day to fish. Of the two islands in the center, one harbors the only forest in all of Wenyavuk. On the other lies the stone tent of the Chieftain of the four tribes.
The people of Wenyavuk - the Eternal Plains of Ice - call themselves Na'nuk, which means 'The Sheltered'. They are humans of medium height and wiry stature, as food is scarce and life is rough in the north. Their skin is darker than snow yet fairer than sand, but the hair is entirely black and smooth. Four known tribes exist, one living in each Tear of the Sun and one at Irfrin's Cauldron. Each of them is led by a chief or elder, which is selected by different means in each of the tribes.
All tribes togther are governed by the chieftain, which is always the spouse of the old chieftains eldest heir. When an heir comes to age, he undergoes the Rite of Enlightenment, in which he is aided by the mystics of Irfrin. At the end of the rite, the heir will have learned a quest their prospective husband will have to fulfill. Each tribe may select a champion to attempt the quest and the victor then has the duty to marry the heir and prepare to become chiftain once the old chiftain dies. This system is not without flaws but it has kept conflict from the tribes for many generations and life is precious in the north.
At some point during the troubles of the Heartwaste it was discovered by scholars at the artic institute that the Na'Nuk shared a heritage with the werekin of the Heartwaste and those denizens of the Heartwaste were unofficially titled "the fifth tribe of Wenyavuk" With work done by Queen Valineth Varinel and Emperor Girard of Serendel these lost peoples have been reunited.
The warmth of the springs and the lake supports some vegetation and even the growing of crops during summer. The crop is meager however, so only indispensable plants are grown, such as medicinal herbs and spices. Most of the food comes from the river and the hunt, making fisher and hunter the most common profession among the Na'nuk. In addition to meat, hunters provide their communities with wooly hide and bones from their prey. The hide is especially warm and used by artisans to fashion both clothing and shelter. The bones are used as a substitute for wood - which is not available in large quantities - in the creation of weapons, tools and rarely armor.
Gold and silver is sometimes found along the river and used to make trinkets from amber, yet workable metal for tools is rare and hard to come by, as the ground outside of the habitable areas is mostly frozen. What little copper and bronze is available, is forged atop volcanic vents by the mystics of Irfrin. Where possible, obsidian is used instead for weapons and tools. Habitation differs from family to family, those that are more wealthy often live in brick housings or sophisticated tents made from fur and bone natural and warmed by elaborate heating systems, while less fortunate families inhabit converted caves warmed by springs.
The Na'nuk are generally peaceful people, and while they are no strangers to conflict - as much of their life is a struggle with nature - they only know about war from ancient tales, since the tribes have coexisted for many generations. There are frequent rivalries between families or tribes, but as the saying goes: when the snow rages, no one is left in the cold.
Ruled by the Serendels for years by the time of unification between the Heartwaste and Wenyavuk in 431 Bekya Serendel, the Governess and Chieftainess of Wenyavuk due to her elder brother's, Hiykan an Nyovu and his wife's death, was 74 years of age and her eldest child Wendry Serendel was ready to undergo the Rite of Enlightenment. Pawondo Tayanya, eldest child, son of Countess Merisaha Tayanya and first cousin of Queen Valineth twice removed, was sent as the Heartwaste Tribe's Champion to face the quest chosen by Wendry Serendel from her Rite vision. The quest. To bring across the ice plains of Wenyavuk a shallow tray of Bloodfire without spilling a drop to prove that stability would come with the reunification of the two peoples.
Pawondo, long derided as lazy and thoughtless being a male child of the nobility proved himself ten times over when he not only succeeded in the task assigned to him, but while doing so recited a Tarcbjorn poem that celebrated the beauty of winter and compared its sleek beauty to that of a woman, specifically Wendry. Upon arriving at Irfrin's Cauldron with an unspilt tray of Bloodfire he was married on the spot to Wendry by the priests of Irfrin and became the new Chieftain of Wenyavuk, uniting the lost peoples by blood.
The world as the Na'nuk know it was born in snow and ice. As it lay in the vast nothingness a thousand generations ago, it was found by Irfrin, the god of light, fire and warmth. As he turned his blazing eyes upon the world, the snow and ice gleamed so fiercely, that even Irfrin was blinded for a moment. As he blinked, three tears fell from his eyes and hit the world. Where they struck, ice melted and snow evaporated, and they burned deep into the ground, from where they radiate their warmth to the surface.
Ever since then, Irfrin has been careful to not look at the world to closely and at times even avoids doing so at all for more than a full moon. But the fire of his tears burns ever so brightly, giving life to the Na'nuk. The three spots where his tears are buried are refered to as Tears of the Sun, and their presence is the only reason that life is at all possible. Far from the tears however, in the night and under the cover of storms, lurk the creatures that welcome the cold. First among them Syivine the Snowtiger, who will turn the world to ice again if Irfrin ever turns his gaze away completely.
As wood is rare in Wenyavuk and hot springs are abundant, fire is rarely used outside of religious ceremonies. During the two long winter moons when the sun never rises completely, a fire is kept burning at each temple. Actively extinguishing such a fire, for whatever reason, is a grave offense and the punishment is exile to the ice. Religious ceremonies are conducted by the mystics, a small group of Na'nuk that are dedicated to spiritual matters. Individual mystics are usually beholden to the chief of their tribe.
In recent years, due to contact with the outside world, the close similarities between Irfrin and the Lord of Fire have been discovered. While most Na'nuk believe them to be one and the same, old customs prevail and faith is still the domain of the mystics. While some customs from the South have been adapted, religion in Wenyavuk remains unorganized.
The giant Woolly Mammoths of the plains serve two purposes to the Na'nuk. Their bones are sturdier than wood and large enough to fashion tools, spears and even armor from them. The true value however lies in their woolly hide, which is thick and warming, yet soft an malleable, keeping the Na'nuk warm during winter and whenever they venture into the plains. Recently, the Na'nuk have undertaken efforts of domesticating the mammoth.
As the waters of Irfrin's Cauldron cool in the frigid air of the north, its warmth is not surrendered freely to air, yet crystallizes in Great chunks of amber that float atop the lakes surface. Their color ranges from the golden shimmer of the sun to the deepest red of embers. It is collected by the mystics of Irfrin and used for carving holy symbols, talismans and is sometimes burnt as incense during festive rituals. Pieces the size of a thumb are common enough for all Na'nuk to possess one, while those as big as a head are valued commodities by the temple. Chunks the size of an arm are finds of a lifetime. Inclusions in the amber are uncommon but can be found, most of them are small crustaceans or conchs.
With most of the land frozen solid and covered in layers of ice and snow, mining is nearly impossible and metal is almost unheard of.